You must have heard of SamCart as a robust shopping cart software. But what about the SamCart Courses app?
Is SamCart worth buying for this course add-on? Should existing users use it?
To answer these questions, I have thoroughly tested the platform by going through all its features and comparing it to the top platforms in the online course environment.
This SamCart Courses review guide will help you find out whether it’s the right option for you and when to use it.
Let’s get started.
SamCart Courses Review Summary
SamCart Courses is SamCart’s native app for creating online courses. It has features for content management, course structuring, content delivery, etc. Plus, you can use SamCart to sell your courses and build sales pages.
Pros of SamCart Courses
- Multiple content types in one lesson
- Access levels at the unit/lesson level
- Ability to create worksheets
- Amazing selling tools
- Automation rules with third-party apps
- Unlimited courses and students
Cons of SamCart Courses
- No video hosting
- No bulk and cloud importing
- Limited engagement tools
- No website building features
- No course analytics tools
What Is SamCart Courses?
SamCart Courses is an add-on for SamCart, an established checkout page solution used by more than 20,000 users. SamCart is primarily a checkout solution, and the Courses app adds course creation and delivery functionality inside the platform.
Like other hosted platforms, when you use the courses app, you won’t need to worry about updates and maintenance as their team handles it for you.
It offers a drag-and-drop course builder, flexible lesson structuring, easy-to-create access levels, basic quizzes, worksheets, and course dripping and locking features.
What makes SamCart Courses stand out is the possibility of selling online courses using best-in-class sales tools.
Now, let’s check every feature in detail.
A Closer Look at SamCart Courses Features
In this section, we’ll see how SamCart Courses performs in course building and delivery.
We’ll also look at the learning and engagement tools it offers and their capabilities.
To start, SamCart Courses has an easy-to-use course builder for structuring your course content into units and lessons.
While you add the actual content in lessons, units are for grouping different lessons for organizational purposes.
After creating units and lessons, you can easily reorder by dragging and dropping them.
So, what can you add to these lessons? The course builder allows you to have videos, images, PDFs, and audio files.
It provides native hosting for all content types except videos.
You first need to upload videos on a video-hosting platform like Vimeo or YouTube and then embed them on SamCart’s lesson builder.
The lesson builder offers a content editor for adding text, images, and video links and has numerous formatting options.
You’ll find the flexibility afforded by the lesson builder pretty useful, as you’ll be able to add multiple content types in the same lecture.
For instance, you can add (embedded video + PDF + audio) or any combination of content types in any order and even rearrange them.
As far as PDFs and other resources are concerned, you can add them as downloadable files. You have to upload them to the media library, and SamCart will host them on the platform.
Because there is no native video hosting, you can’t bulk import videos and have to create lessons one by one. Moreover, you can’t import directly from cloud drives, another significant drawback.
On a different note, one unique feature that SamCart Courses offers is the ability to create different access levels. And you can easily assign your units and lessons to these access levels.
Overall, SamCart Courses does an average job in course building as it has three significant missing features—video hosting, bulk importing, and cloud importing.
Content delivery dramatically impacts the overall user experience, making it one of the most critical aspects of the online course creation process.
In SamCart, your students go through the course content by visiting the curriculum page. Here they can see their progress and resume the course from where they left.
The course content is delivered to students through the native course player.
The course player follows the conventional layout where the embedded video is present on the right, and the navigation menu is on the left.
Your students can quickly move between lessons and units using the left navigation menu and the next and previous lesson buttons.
While the layout works fine for delivering the course content, there are a few missing features:
- No search box, so students need to find lessons and sections manually
- No discussion or comments area for students to mention doubts, feedback, etc.
- Just one course player theme, which isn’t ideal for other digital products such as a memberships site.
Finally, we checked the course player for mobile responsiveness, and it works well. While there is no iOS/Android mobile app, students can still access the content using mobile browsers.
Overall, course delivery in SamCart is satisfactory, but there’s significant scope for improvement.
Learning and Engagement
This section will explore SamCart’s learning and engagement tools.
Let’s get started with quizzes.
The SamCart course app provides basic quiz creation tools.
The only option is to create multiple-choice questions with one correct answer, and there’s no way to generate multiple-selection or paragraph-style questions.
In terms of media types, you can add simple text, links, and an image to the question, though there’s no way to add audio or video files to questions or answers.
Plus, you can make a graded quiz by adding a minimum passing percentage.
Speaking of advanced level quizzes, features such as randomized question banks, timed quizzes, adding an explanation, and importing questions aren’t available.
Worksheets are an important addition that significantly enhances the learning experience. You can include one or more Worksheets in a lesson and use them as assignments and surveys.
It allows you to add:
- Paragraph-based answers
- Short answers
The lesson builder also allows you to add text, images, audio files, and embed videos to Worksheets.
Moreover, there’s an option to get an email when a student completes a Worksheet.
SamCart’s Worksheets feature is pretty flexible. For example, you can use it to create assignments and evaluate the submissions. Or, you can use it for doing surveys and collecting feedback.
However, Worksheets comes with certain limitations:
- You can’t provide students with an “Upload File” option
- There’s no way to approve or reject any of the answers
- You can’t mark it as a prerequisite
Content Dripping and Locking
With SamCart Courses, you can either release the entire course in one go or through a drip schedule at a unit or lesson level, meaning that you can choose to release one unit or one lesson at a time.
For every new unit or lesson, you can select the day of the week or the number of days after the previous lesson was released. You can even exempt specific lessons from content dripping and make them available to your students right away.
However, you don’t get the option to release content on a specific date.
Speaking of content locking, you can select specific units/lessons that you want to make a prerequisite.
There’s also an option to make a quiz compulsory, so your students need to complete it before moving forward to other lessons.
However, even with these learning and engagement features, SamCart still has a lot missing, such as:
- Native certificate creation tools
- Community-building features
- Coaching tool
- Live classes
Overall, SamCart Courses offers only the basic learning and engagement tools, while many important ones like certificates and community aren’t available.
What I Like About SamCart Courses?
We’ve gone through the features of SamCart Courses in detail. Now, let’s analyze what makes it stand out vs the competition.
Flexible Lesson Builder
SamCart’s lesson editor is pretty flexible. It allows you to embed videos and add text, images, tables, downloadable files, and links. The lesson builder also offers many formatting options.
Moreover, you can add multiple content types to the same lesson and arrange them in any order, making them appear nicely in the course player.
Easy-To-Create Access Levels
When creating access levels, SamCart offers flexibility and ease that you wouldn’t even find in the top course creation platforms.
With other course apps, you generally bundle different products to create tiers. However, with the SamCart course app, you can even group multiple units or lessons within a course to create different tiers.
For instance, you may want to create two tiers for your course: basic and premium. You can include the core lessons in the basic plan, while the advanced lessons can go in the premium plan.
Powerful Checkout Tools
SamCart is primarily a checkout app, and it undoubtedly has the best features in this regard.
To start with, you can add Stripe, PayPal, Google Pay, Apple Pay, and a few more options for payment processing.
For building checkout pages, there are numerous templates available. You can either customize them or create one from scratch.
Moreover, the checkout page builder has all the necessary elements—testimonials, badges, featured boxes, texts, images, etc.
Most importantly, SamCart has fantastic tools for improving boosting conversions and customer value:
- Abandoned cart tracking
- Upsells, downsells, bumps, and cross-sells
- Checkout page A/B testing
- Coupons and discounts
Setting Automation Rules With Third-Party Apps
SamCart allows you to set triggers and actions by integrating with 20+ third-party apps.
All you need to do is select the integration, add the secret API, and then set the triggers and actions.
More than 15 e-commerce triggers, such as order complete, product purchased, subscription started, etc., are available. You can set different actions for these triggers depending on the third-party apps.
Even in terms of courses, there are four triggers:
- Student Added To Course
- Student Finished Course
- Student Removed From Course
- Student Started Course
Choose any of these triggers, set third-party actions, and you are good to go.
For instance, you can choose a trigger Student Added To Course, and the action can be Add Tag To Subscriber in ConvertKit, which can then be used to send them an onboarding sequence.
The advantage of this feature is that you don’t need an automation app such as Zapier or Integromat to create advanced integration with other apps.
Amazing Subscription Management Tools
SamCart has top-notch tools for running a subscription business.
You can easily create different tiers by adding multiple access levels for all your courses and bundling them to make membership plans.
You can even bundle multiple courses together and sell digital downloads as a part of the membership.
In terms of pricing options, there are exclusive features such as custom recurring payment period, limited period subscription, free and paid trials, and charging initial setup fees.
Besides pricing, there are a few more features that I would like to highlight.
- The first feature is multiple payment options, where you can show two or more plans on the checkout page.
- The Subscription Saver tool comes to action when a user’s recurring payment isn’t charged successfully. It triggers a series of emails requesting the user to update the card info, saving your recurring earnings.
- The Customer Hub feature lets users cancel their subscription or update card details by themselves.
Lastly, with SamCart, you can track all the vital subscription metrics such as current active subscriptions, monthly recurring revenue (MRR), churn rate, new trials, cancellations, and at-risk subscriptions.
The SamCart Courses add-on is available on all plans. Therefore, even if you go for the Basic plan that costs $49/month, you get access to all the course building and engagement features.
You can create unlimited courses and add unlimited students on all plans, and you don’t even have to pay any transaction fees.
Moreover, the entry-level plan lets you use the checkout page builder, checkout themes, and other core features, making SamCart reasonably priced.
What I Don’t Like About SamCart Courses?
SamCart Courses lacks some essential features that can significantly impact your online course business.
In this section, we’re going to cover all those features.
No Native Video Hosting
One of the major limitations of the courses app is the unavailability of native video hosting.
You’ll need to host your videos on a third-party platform such as YouTube or Vimeo and add links to lessons one by one.
This requires you to make additional efforts, which can be avoided with native video hosting.
Other than that, it also increases the overall course creation cost as video hosting comes with a recurring charge.
Limited Learning and Engagement Tools
While SamCart Courses offers quizzes, worksheets, and course dripping, they all have limitations. For instance, you can only create basic multiple-choice quizzes and don’t get any advanced features.
Besides that, you can’t provide students with a certificate of completion after they complete a course.
Moreover, you don’t get any features for community building or facilitating discussions. And live classes and 1:1 coaching features are missing too. As you can see, there’s no way to interact with students.
Overall, the learning and engagement tools are pretty limited, and the platform doesn’t perform satisfactorily in this regard.
No Website Builder
While SamCart has a checkout page builder, it doesn’t have a website builder. There are no website themes or the ability to create full-fledged sales pages.
So, if you want to build a full-fledged course website with a homepage, blog, etc., that’s not possible with SamCart Courses.
In this case, you’ll have to use WordPress or any other platform to host your website. It’d increase the cost and effort required to manage your online course business.
Steep Learning Curve for Purchase Flow Creation
SamCart offers great flexibility when creating a purchase flow. However, you’ll find the linking process tough to understand.
If you create multiple access levels, you’ll need different products for each, and then you’ll have to assign these products back to every access level. You’ll also need to add a purchase button link that will lead to checkout.
The whole process is complicated, making it challenging to create the flow properly the first time. However, it should be fine once you get familiar with it.
No Course Reporting Tools
Though SamCart has a dedicated Reports section, it doesn’t include any course insights.
You’ll be disappointed if you want to know about metrics, such as average completion rate, student progress, quiz performance, etc.
All top course platforms offer these reporting tools, allowing you to make data-based decisions for your courses. Unfortunately, that’s not possible with SamCart.
For example, if you find the average completion rate for a course is low, you’ll know that it is not that engaging, and students are dropping it. That way, you’ll find room for improvement and work towards it.
Moreover, there is no video analytics available, so you can’t get information about total views, average engagement, total hours watched, etc.
SamCart Courses vs the Competition
Before providing the final verdict, let’s see where SamCart Courses stands against its competitors.
One of the best platforms that course creators choose is Kajabi. It is an all-in-one online course platform that offers features related to all online course business aspects.
With Kajabi, you get course creation tools, multiple course player designs, quizzes and assignments, full-fledged website building tools, product pricing, optimized checkout, a sales funnel builder, and an email marketing tool.
While Kajabi has much more to offer, its checkout builder isn’t as powerful. As a result, many established creators use Kajabi for course hosting and building a website and SamCart for selling courses.
Recommended Reading: Kajabi Review – Is It Really That Good?
Other competitors that rule the course player space are Thinkific and Teachable.
Both are standalone course platforms, primarily focusing on course creation tools. As a result, both offer better course creation and engagement features.
Again, the checkout builders of these platforms aren’t as good as SamCart, so creators often use SamCart with these platforms.
Recommended Reading: Teachable vs Thinkific: The Ultimate (No Fluff) Review
SamCart Courses – Final Verdict
This SamCart Courses review discussed all of the platform’s course creation features. Moreover, we explored the tools that make the course app stand out and others that aren’t so good.
Overall, the course app lacks some pretty important features, and it can’t replace a dedicated online course platform yet.
However, if you’re an existing SamCart user and want to create simple online courses, their Courses add-on should work well for you.
If you want to try out SamCart Courses, you can start a 14-day free trial by clicking below.
I hope you liked this SamCart Courses review and that it helped you decide if it’s the right option for you.
If you have any feedback or queries regarding the platform, drop them in the comments section below.
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